Jim Bartlett's Blog

What We Remember

Several of us on the Magic crew had an interesting conversation in the office the other day about the earliest memories we have. Ginger says she wondered why the burner on the stove was red instead of black, so she reached up to touch it, with predictable results. Lanette was running with her cousins at a picnic and when she smacked into a hot grill. Mark says he saw what he remembers as a "cartoon mouse" running across his bed. Sara remembers standing on a couch looking out of a window while wearing a string of pearls. As for me, I remember being in a strange house and sitting on the lap of a very old lady, who was my maternal great-grandmother. She died in 1962, so I would have been about two. Two seems to be the threshold for early memories, a bit younger for some of us and a bit older for others. 

I was thinking about early memories the other day, trying to decide if I can remember watching all the Kennedy assassination stuff on TV 50 years ago. I think I can, but I'm not sure--images of that time have been broadcast on TV over and over again for a half-century now, so it's possible the picture I carry of seeing a coffin on a bier in a funeral procession might have come from a later time.

November 22, 1963, was an unseasonably warm day in Madison, although by that evening it was raining, and the next day, temperatures were forecast to be only in the 20s. The Badger football team was already en route to Minnesota, flying by charter plane for their annual showdown with the Gophers, and so were 800 fans who were traveling by train. The game would be postponed to the next Thursday, which was Thanksgiving Day. Stores, restaurants, and theaters closed. TV canceled entertainment programs and all the commercials scheduled to air in them. The radio listings in the Wisconsin State Journal showed that WISM-FM, which would one day become Magic 98, was planning to air something called The Stereo Demonstration Hour at 7:00 that night. But it's a safe bet that the show didn't air. Radio stations either followed the news or played somber music.

You'll want to pick up this week's Isthmus for a tremendous article by Stu Levitan telling some stories of what happened in Madison during those four days in November. I wish I'd written it.

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Topics : Human Interest
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Locations : Minnesota

11/15/2013 2:25PM
What We Remember
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